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Big League Stew

Flying fish: Marlins’ Justin Ruggiano robs Brett Lawrie with incredible diving catch

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

The list of candidates for baseball's play of the year grew by one on Saturday.

We take you to Marlins Ballpark in Miami, where the Toronto Blue Jays used a six-run ninth inning — highlighted by Edwin Encarnacion's two-run homer and Colby Rasmus' grand slam — to earn a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins. But it could have been a lot worse, a lot sooner for the Marlins were it not for center fielder Justin Ruggiano, who sacrificed his body and laid out completely to rob Brett Lawrie of extra bases and a couple RBIs in the fifth inning.

Have a look at Ruggiano's highlight reel grab yourself:

As you could see, Ruggiano's effort drew an immediate acknowledgement from starting pitcher Josh Johnson. And understandably so. At that moment it looked like a potential game-saving play, but at the very least it ended up turning what would have been an average outing from Johnson into arguably his best of the season.

''J.J. battled today like the ace he is,'' Ruggiano said. ''When a guy is pitching like that, I'll sell out my body for him. He did a hell of a job and for his sake I was glad I was able to make that catch.''

Add Johnson's fantasy owners and manager Ozzie Guillen to the list of people thankful for his effort. In fact, Guillen had nothing but praise for Ruggiano even before Saturday's game, citing that he loved the way the 30-year-old outfielder battled for every at-bat.

Well, now Justin Ruggiano has shown Guillen he's willing to sell out with the glove as well, so it looks like his spot in Miami's lineup will remain secure for the immediate future.

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